Tranter, Kieran and Bartlett, Francesca and Corbin, Lillian and Mortensen, Reid and Robertson, Michael (2010) Reaffirming legal ethics: taking stock and new ideas [Introduction]. In: Reaffirming legal ethics: taking stock and new ideas. Routledge Research in Legal Ethics. Taylor & Francis (Routledge), Abingdon, Oxon. United Kingdom, pp. 1-11. ISBN 978-0-4155-4653-9
It has been over thirty years since the founding crises that birthed legal ethics as both a field of study and a discrete field of law. In that time thinking about the ethical dimension of legal practice has taken several turns: from justifications of zealous advocacy, to questions of process and connections to specifically legal values, to more recently consideration of legal conduct as part of a wider field of virtue. Parallel to this dynamism of thought, there has also been significant changes in how legal professions, especially within those that possess a common law heritage, have been regulated and the values and conceptions of legitimate conduct that has informed this regulation.
This volume represents an opportunity for a comprehensive review of legal ethics as an international movement. Contributors include many of the key participants to the legal ethics field from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, including David Luban and Deborah Rhode, as well as many of the recognised emerging thinkers.
The theme of the book is taking stock of the last thirty years of legal ethics practice and scholarship and also a forum for new ideas and new thinking regarding the conduct of lawyers and the moral and social responsibility of the legal profession. The contributions also consider the topic of dynamism. Over the last decade significant developments in both the expectations of professional conduct and the regulation of the profession has been experienced in all jurisdictions, which has seen traditional, and once sacred, conceptions of lawyering challenged and re-evaluated. The contributors also look at the theme of affirmation. Within an increasingly complex environment of change and dynamism, this volume reaffirms that there is value within the field of legal ethics. That is the project of reflecting on the unique ethical and conduct requirements of lawyering can not be submerged into a broader field of applied philosophy, management or regulatory studies. While this volume does not deny the opportunities that exist for interdisciplinary engagement with philosophy, social science or politics, it affirms legal ethics as a legitimate and highly relevant field of inquiry.
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